It was a great day for science-loving geeks everywhere. Here are the day’s big announcements, in no particular order:
The Higgs boson enters the annals of legitimate science
The checks and balances system of scientific inquiry and discovery involves one important step, the one that so-called documented alien sightings and faith-healing can’t seem to pass: peer review. CERN’s possibly-the-Higgs boson discovery, announced on the 4th of July, has officially passed the first step to becoming scientific fact, and has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Letters B.
Back in July, both the CMS and ATLAS teams — teams of scientists tasked with analyzing the data produced by the CMS and ATLAS detectors — announced that they’d discovered a new elementary particle. CERN did not say that this was the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle, but as the Standard Model of particle physics only has one undiscovered particle remaining, it probably is the Higgs boson. Following CERN’s announcement, both the CMS and ATLAS teams submitted their findings to Physics Letters B — and today, both of their research papers have passed peer review by the scientific community, effectively becoming… science.
Now maybe we can stop calling it the God Particle and just call it the Higgs. [ExtremeTech]
Need a heart monitor fast and cheap? There’s an app for that.
17-year-old Catherine Wong has developed an app that serves as a personal, cost-effective electrocardiogram. The app was entered in Google’s Second Anual Science Fair, but didn’t win. That’s okay, though, because NPR recognized Wong’s genius lifesaving device as the winner of “Joe’s Big Idea,” a video contest that explores how ideas become innovations and inventions. The app records information and makes it accessible to medical personnel, who interpret the data to diagnose medical conditions. [Tecca]
NASA’s kind of hoping we don’t find water on Mars
Not because a wet Red Planet wouldn’t be awesome — no scientist could ever deny that. But part of Curiosity’s mission on the planet requires drilling into the subsurface for samples, and the smartest people on this planet know that microbes from Earth are probably still clinging to the rover. Add microbes to water and what do you get? A false-positive for life on Mars. And that’s almost worse than being invaded and mined for our bioelectric energy. (Almost.) [CBS]